On Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “casual meeting” with Sharif on the sidelines of climate summit in Paris, Khurshid said such an engagement will have meaning only if the two countries are going to be “honest” and serious intention to make progress.
Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had “risked elections” to improve ties with India, former External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid on Monday said expressing disappointment over the current government “not doing enough” in this regard.On Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “casual meeting” with Sharif on the sidelines of climate summit in Paris, Khurshid said such an engagement will have meaning only if the two countries are going to be “honest” and serious intention to make progress. He dismissed criticism over his recent speech in Pakistan saying that he had instead urged the western neighbour to give up Kashmir. That was the major point of my speech and not criticising the Indian government, he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”I have some personal knowledge through meetings and close observations that Nawaz Sharif risked his election when he said he wants better relations with India and will go the extra mile,” Khurshid said at the Times Litfest in New Delhi.The senior Congress leader said that when Sharif embraced Modi during his visit to India, “his intention was to find a solution. I was disappointed that the present government of India has not done enough.””I think that we need to know if there was a substantive conversation and if there is any indication of intent of seriously moving forward. Otherwise meeting is meaningless,” he said on the sidelines of the event.Khurshid also sought to distance himself from former Finance Minister P Chidambaram’s statement that the banning of Salman Rushdie’s controversial novel ‘The Satanic Verses’ by the Rajiv Gandhi government was wrong.”I don’t think it’s relevant to talk about what happened in the past. What is relevant is what we are doing today. If anything that happened 27 years ago is being repeated today then examine it in merits. What’s the point in going back in history?” Khurshid asked.He said there was some distance between the experience of Indian Muslims and what their counterparts are going through in conflict-ridden regions such as Syria and Iraq. The issue is “thankfully” not getting transmitted to them in India, he said.”Should they go out of their way and speak more vigorously and should they just ignore it as this is not a part of their lives? Although you have sprinkling of people who have joined the ISIS, I don’t think this a major concern for the psyche of the Indian Muslim which is a good thing,” he said.During a Q&A session, he also identified the first-past-the-post system as a major vice and insisted on the adoption of proportional representation. He also said that reservations, in their present form, had contributed to group identity.